CHENNAITexting may be cool, but is it painful? Doctors report that text neck syndrome is causing more neck pain in children and teens than ever before.

Children’s spines and major joints are affected by prolonged use of mobile phones and computers without proper posture. Covid restrictions, online education, and working at home have all contributed to the problem.

Text neck syndrome is the term used to describe neck injuries caused by a prolonged forward head position.

Signs include neck and shoulder stiffness and tightness that limits range of motion, as well as shoulder and neck discomfort.

Other issues include recurrent or intermitten headaches, eye pain, and nerve pain with tingling or numbness of the upper limbs.

Dr Nandkumar, head of orthopedics, Fortis Malar Hospital, says that short-term effects are not as obvious. Children and teenagers do not consider long-term harm or are unaware. “The effects of forward-neck flexion don’t significantly impact the quality or life until adulthood. This fact must be brought to the attention of younger people who use smartphones and tablet devices most. This increases the fear that young people will live in pain or impairment, or worse, have years removed from their life expectancy,” said he.

Doctors say that while spine-related problems due to long hours of work used to be a common concern for working youth, it is now becoming more common among school-going children.

“We can’t fault them or their parents, because everything today, even education, is dependent on smartphones. We need to make sure that there are regular breaks and exercises to avoid damage. It’s important to stop and take a break. The phone shouldn’t be too low. While reading, playing or texting, it is best to place your hands on a desk. If you experience a sudden shock, such as pain, numbness, or stiffness, it is important to consult a doctor right away. These symptoms can lead to spine deformities in the future.